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​May the God of joy accompany you every day of your ministry, archbishop tells Missionhurst priest

September 23, 2021 | posted by Today's Catholic newspaper

Topics: Vocations

May the God of joy accompany you every day of your ministry, archbishop tells Missionhurst priest

Father Roger Montecalvo, CICM, was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, during a Mass at Sacred Heart Church on August 28. The new priest is in residence at St. James the Apostle Church and will spend the next year in continued studies at the University of the Incarnate Word.

This year on Good Shepherd Sunday after Easter, Pope Francis ordained nine men to the priesthood for the Diocese of Rome. During the homily the pope said, “You will be shepherds like him. This is what he wants of you. Pastors. Pastors of God’s holy faithful people. Pastors who go with God’s people: sometimes in front of the flock, sometimes in the middle or behind, but always there with God’s people.”

Archbishop Gustavo told the ordinand that his mandate is to always be there with the people. “You are a missionary. That is your call, to be there with people wherever you are sent. Always be there with the people. Most of all remember that your call is to feed the people, especially with the Word of God, what has fed you all your life and what now nourishes you to accept your vocation today,” he explained. “Never forget that this is what you are ordained to do, to care for the people, especially the most vulnerable, listening to them, sharing in their joys and their sorrows, being a part of their lives and serving them as Christ showed us. Most of all, always feed them. They seek to be fed and they want to be fed. Christ calls you to do just that.”

The pope urged the new priests to seek “closeness” to God, their bishop or superior, their fellow priests, and the People of God throughout their priestly service. He described this as the “four closenesses of the priest.” “What a beautiful reminder of how we must live our priesthood!” added the archbishop. “All of us priests who gather with you, soon to be our brother in the priestly ministry, should ask ourselves today how we have been living these closenesses.”

The Missionary of the Holy Spirit described how this closeness to God comes with daily prayer, Eucharist and preaching, which must take a priority. “Our closeness with the bishop or superior is shown in respect and collaboration, as we gather to serve our people. Our closeness to our brother priests comes in fraternity, as we support and care for each other. Our closeness to the people comes in humility, service and identification with them, especially the poorest,” Archbishop Gustavo repeated. “The Holy Father reminds us and urges us to live the call and practice closeness every day.”

The archbishop emphasized that love is rooted in action and that thanksgiving results in generous action, namely the giving back and offering of one’s life for others. “The priest does that best when he is willing to listen to the people, enter into their experiences and walk with them in accompaniment,” he said. “Your preaching and teaching come from this attitude of a listening heart.”

The San Antonio prelate said that priests are called to abide with Jesus in a special way. “Always continue to grow your friendship with Jesus throughout your life as a priest,” he smiled as he looked at Deacon Montecalvo. “Today is a day you attach yourself to Jesus and the Church in a new and profound way.”

Pope Francis at this year’s Mass of Chrism spoke to the priests assembled of the grace of amazement. Jesus’ relationship with the people was marked by the grace of amazement: the amazement of the people who saw Jesus, listened to his teaching with authority and felt His compassionate presence. Jesus Himself also expressed amazement at the faith of the people. Jesus took the time to listen to people and to understand their petitions and their faith and in doing so He was amazed by what he experienced in them.

“Allow yourself throughout your priesthood to be amazed by the faith of your people and pray to have that kind of faith for yourself,” concluded Archbishop Gustavo. “It is with much joy that the Church and your community call you today to be a priest and surround you in prayerful support.”